While the national average for credit card debt dropped 4 percent at the end of 2010 compared with the previous year, some cities experienced sharp increases over the same period, according to a report from Experian. The report shows the average cardholder owed more than $4,200 in credit card debt last year while, cities like San Antonio saw averages soar 21 percent above that average.
Cities with Most Bank Card Debt in Southern U.S.
The good news is the national average for credit card debt dropped over the course of a year from $4,467 at the end of 2009, but the bad news is debt actually increased considerably in some cities, mostly in the southern states.
The cities with the highest credit card debt last year included:
- San Antonio, Texas – $5,177
- Jacksonville, Fla. - $5,115
- Atlanta, Ga. - $4,960
- Honolulu, Hawaii - $4,939
- Dallas, Texas - $4,936
- Norfolk, Va. - $4,925
- Seattle, Wash. - $4,877
- Austin, Texas - $4,791
- Richmond, Va. - $4,771
- San Diego, Calif. - $4,673
Other cities suffering from high credit card debt included Baltimore, Md. ($4,645), Columbus, Ohio ($4,361), Denver, Colo. ($4,608), Tallahassee, Fla. ($4,605) and Colorado Springs, Colo. ($4,601).
To calculate average debt, the agency looked at bank credit cards, not retail cards that can only be used in the issuing establishment.
Number of Cards Carried Dropped
The same report revealed that consumers carried fewer credit cards last year than they did in the previous year. According to Experian, consumers carried 1.97 cards last year, which represented a 23-percent drop from the end of 2009.
While this may seem like a bit of good news, with consumer debt increasing in many parts of the country, the drop in the number of cards carried actually indicated that consumers’ credit utilization ratios were in worse shape.
Experian found cardholders utilized more than 30 percent of their total available balance. This ratio is up from 20 percent in 2007, which means credit scores are dropping.
The good news is consumers in a handful of cities managed to drop their debt considerably. For instance, in Fort Wayne, Ind., credit card balances dropped an average 24 percent. In El Paso, Texas, averages dropped by about 14 percent.
If you are among the consumers whose credit card debt increased last year, it’s a good time to look at ways to decrease your debt while exploring how to increase your credit score. A bad credit score could prevent you from acquiring loans, insurance, bank accounts and even jobs, so take time to ensure yours isn’t hindering your chances at a quality life.